So it is that time of year, late Fall.  The time when the newness of school has worn off and the holiday break is still a month a way.  A time when the leaves start to turn color and the complaints about the lack of student behavior, motivation, and performance begin to heat up.

I’m not going to say that the complaints are not warranted.  But I will say that in many cases the complaints are self-inflicted.

First, we have to remind ourselves that, “STUDENT PERFORMANCE IS DRIVEN BY ADULT PRACTICE.”

So when student behavior, motivation and performance take a noticeable dip, we have to take an uncomfortable look in the mirror.  And based on that look, if we find that we have let some of our practice get sloppy, tighten up just a bit.  Trust me, your students will respond when you do so.  Here is your mid-semester checklist to make sure that we are setting ourselves up to be the best teachers that we can be.


1. I Frame every lesson. Correctly.

2. I use a timer (recommended: The Fundamental Five Classroom Timer).  To make sure my warm-ups start and end on time and that I close every lesson… correctly.

3. I get into the Power Zone. A lot.

4. I Grade on the Fly. Every chance I get.


1. I get rid of all the clutter in my classroom.

2. I make sure everything in the room is neat and organized. Always.

3. I make sure the room is clean. At the beginning and end of every class.

4. I open up my blinds/curtains (if I have windows).  I keep the lights on. 

Take care of the items on this list, everyday, and things will go a lot smoother for you and your students.

Think. Work. Achieve.

Your turn…

  • Call Jo at (832) 477-LEAD to order your campus set of “The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction.” Individual copies available on!
  • Now at the Apple App Store: Fun 5 Timer (Fundamental 5 Delivery Tool); Fun 5 Plans (Fundamental 5 Lesson Plan Tool)
  • Upcoming Presentations: TMSA Winter Conference; ASCD Annual Conference; TEPSA Summer Conference
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